The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed Kathleen Armani at her home in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania. She is 50 years old, and is proud to say that, despite raising four children and two dogs, she has very limited gray hairs. This memory is significant to Kathleen because it demonstrates her childhood adventures and the “simpler” times of her youth.

“Wait up guys!” Kathleen yelled to her friends as she peddled faster to catch up. It was the middle of another hot Virginia summer afternoon, and another day of adventure and exploring. They had reached the dead end of the street, where Kathleen’s friend, Beanie’s house was. In swift fluid motions, the kids swung themselves off of their bikes and ran behind the house, for this was the easiest entrance into the woods. Dirt flew through the air and the sound of crunching sticks and the hum of cicadas seemed to fill the woods.

            All of the kids from the neighborhood raced through the trees, ducking under the branches full of green leaves, and down the hill to the creek. All of the moms of the neighborhood told their kids that swimming in the creek was off limits, especially after the kids found water snakes there last summer.

            Rebelliously, the kids slipped off their shoes and jumped into the cool, refreshing water. This was their third time here this week, and they still hadn't been caught.

            James, the leader of the pack, had blonde hair and wild green eyes. He was always full of “good” ideas, like practicing his fire skills from boy scouts in the basement and trying to test out his parent’s cars. On this particular afternoon, James decided to put another one of his bright ideas to work.

“Watch this!” James, exclaimed from the branch of a nearby tree. All of the kids knew the creek was too shallow to jump in from high above. Still, for reasons unknown, nobody tried to stop James. He scooted to the edge, just barely keeping his scrawny body balanced, and flung himself down towards the water.

Just as everyone had suspected, James had a landing that was anything but graceful. Words that were traditionally too profane for a ten-year-old escaped from James’ mouth in no particular order. The kids pulled him to the edge of the creek, almost fully out of the water.

“Can you walk on it?” Kathleen asked, even though she already knew the answer to the question based on his painful groans and how he rocked back and forth, holding his ankle. James tried to stand up, his knobby knees collapsing him right back into the mud.

“Great, how are we going to get out of this one?” Beanie asked rolling her eyes and crossing her arms. After a quick brainstorm, the kids carried James back through the woods and all the way to Beanie’s house. They were greeted by Beanie’s mother who was hard at work gardening outside. She looked over at the kids, in disappointment and called James’ mother to come pick him up.

The rest of the kids rode their bikes home together in silence, as they all knew they were in for it once their parents heard about where they had gone. However, this wouldn’t put and to the summer adventures.

“Same time again tomorrow?” one of the kids finally spoke. They all confidently nodded in agreement. 

Simple Summers

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Summer 1976
Fairfax, VA

I interviewed Kathleen Armani at her home in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania. She is 50 years old, and is proud to say that, despite raising four children and two dogs, she has very limited gray hairs. This memory is significant to Kathleen because it demonstrates her childhood adventures and the “simpler” times of her youth.

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Eileen Armani on December 9, 2017
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